Kersti Tyson joined the LANL Foundation in 2019 as Director of Evaluation & Learning. Kersti’s primary focus is utilizing research and evaluation to support the Foundation’s mission, vision, values and strategies across the spectrum of public education. Kersti will help both internal and external stakeholders to develop evaluation methods that demonstrate program impact, reflect on results and drive ongoing program improvement. Her research will assess community needs in order to develop new programs and refine existing ones.
Kersti’s early career as a math teacher in Santa Fe and Taos sparked her interest in how children learn. That prompted her to pursue a master’s in intercultural communication through the University of New Mexico’s Communication & Journalism department, convinced that culture plays an important role in how we learn.
After completing her master’s, Kersti spent four years working for the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) on Teacher Quality Policies, joining the first PED unit to focus on building quality teachers in New Mexico. The position provided useful experience for understanding how leadership and policy decisions impact teachers, students and communities, but her heart was really devoted to improving children’s opportunities to learn in NM, so she entered the Learning Sciences Program at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash., to earn her PhD. As a learning scientist, Kersti learns about learning in order to support the complex work teachers accomplish with children every day.
Kersti returned to New Mexico, joining the faculty of the University of New Mexico’s College of Education, where she taught elementary mathematics methods and graduate courses in education for educators and researchers. She earned tenure and the rank of Associate Professor in 2018.
As a native New Mexican whose family goes back several generations, Kersti values the cultural diversity of the state and is looking forward to helping Northern New Mexico communities build on the strengths they already possess and providing opportunities for children to express their natural brilliance.